As the Puget Sound heats up, landlords are responding with something some renters have thus far only imagined: air conditioning.
“I could have made an effort to select an apartment with air conditioning, but I honestly didn’t even think about it,” Allie Laurie, a transplant from Michigan, said. “It was an assumption in Michigan, every single apartment has air conditioning.”
New apartment buildings are taking advantage of the hot housing market by cooling down their renters. The number of Seattle apartments built with air conditioning has more than quadrupled in the last couple of decades, from 4 percent in the 1990s to 25 percent after 2010, according to the census.
“We knew a lot of other rental properties weren’t including air conditioning and we were seeing more and more people moving in from climates that were used to having AC,” Lori Mason Curran, a spokesperson with Vulcan Real Estate, said.
Augusta apartments in the University District was the property company’s first building that included air conditioning in its units. Approximately 60 of the 209 apartments have a dual heating and cooling unit in the living room.
“So what we’re doing is putting AC units in some of the upper-level apartments and ones that are south facing and west facing windows that get more heat,” Mason Curran said, telling us the 700 sq. ft. model apartment on the 5th floor cost approximately $2,700 per month.
Leasing agents say there have been more prospective renters inquiring about air conditioning since temperatures began rising, and particularly since the expectation of a heat wave kicked in this week.
The interest is not only coming from transplants.
Vulcan is currently building an apartment complex in South Lake Union that will include air conditioning in 70 percent of its units.
“I like to say that we Seattleites have a 20-degree comfort level, and if it gets over 70 or under 50 we start to complain,” Mason Curran said.
While newcomers such as Laurie think they can make it through the Seattle heat wave with fans, stand-alone air conditioners, and a little will.
“I’m just appreciating this as summer. This is so similar to what I had in Michigan,” Laurie said, adding, “maybe even a little bit cooler.”